English Paper Piecing - A Scrap Busting TSNEM Project

English Paper Piecing - A scrap busting Try Something New Every Month Project

Ok, so it might be halfway through June but here is my May 'Try Something New Every Month' project.  The theme for this month was 'handwork' and in a rare fit of compliance I decided to go with it and have a go at English Paper Piecing.  

I'm going to blame my tardiness on a combination of technical issues (my cloud is full which apparently doesn't make it rain but does make it hard to get photos off your phone and onto your computer.... I know - Yawn! Sorry!...), the glacially slow progress of my hand sewing and the fact that I had lots of other (frankly more interesting and instantly gratifying) projects to sew.

English Paper Piecing - A scrap busting Try Something New Every Month Project

This was, first and foremost, a scrap busting project.  I seem to be incapable of throwing away even small scraps fabric and thought that this would be a great way to use some of them up.  I genuinely thought that I was starting small with this project - it was the first time that I'd tried English Paper Piecing so it made sense to keep it small and simple right?  The theory was good, but unfortunately it takes a LOT of 1" hexies to make even a rather small piece - I mean just LOOK at that pile of cardboard templates! 

English Paper Piecing - A scrap busting Try Something New Every Month Project

I was pretty pleased with my final patchwork, but it still wasn't nearly big enough and I didn't fancy taking the rest of the year to complete this so I went and sewed a big yellow boarder around it before hand quilting the top sewing it into a footstool. 

English Paper Piecing - A scrap busting Try Something New Every Month Project

Just don't look too closely at my hexies please or you'll see the wonky joins and gaps.  You know how you hear quilting people say 'nice points!'? No one is ever going to say that to me.....

English Paper Piecing - A scrap busting Try Something New Every Month Project

Once I had my footstool cover it needed stuffing (and this is the really brilliant scrap busting part) it's also the part where you begin to think that I might actually be crazy.. BUT.  If you've been here before, or follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I spend a lot of my 'free' time sewing up felt dress up masks which I sell on Etsy and at local handmade markets in Melbourne.  Anyway, the point is that cutting out all of those felt masks results in lots of tiny scraps which I don't seem to be able to throw away.  I'm honestly not sure why I didn't just put them in the bin except for that I had vague, half-formed ideas about using them to stuff a pillow or something at some point.  So; this is what a year's worth of scraps looks like (and how a 5 year old looks when you let her tip them all over the dining room floor and roll around in them):


And this is how my paper pieced, felt scrap filled, labour of love footstool looks when finished. I'll admit to feeling a little smug, If only because I actually finished the thing!  I'm not sure I'll do any more English Paper Piecing, at least not in the near future, but despite all my grumbling I did rather enjoy this (possibly because I gave me an excuse to sit on the sofa and plow through another season of Mad Men!)

English Paper Piecing - A scrap busting Try Something New Every Month Project

Right.  Time to get cracking with June's TSNEM project!

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5 tips for getting the most wear out of your handmade clothes.

Make do and Mend

Happy Wednesday people! 

Today I'm guest blogging over at Sew Thrifty as part of the 'Savings by Sewing' series. I'll be sharing my thoughts on the philosophy of 'Make do and Mend' and my top 5 tips for getting the most wear out of your handmade clothes.  

If you haven't seen this series yet make sure you look through the other posts - there are heaps of really great ideas in there and I'm definitely going to be making use of some of them!

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Daddy's-Old-Shirt Dress


We're getting into the spirit of buy nothing new month a little early here. Nick and I had a clear out of our wardrobes and I decided to turn this old shirt of his into a little sundress for Ella. 

I made the front by cutting a dart along the bottom of the gold, with the yolk the right width and the skirt with extra width which I gathered before sewing the dart back together. This meant I could leave the original buttons and button band and not have to cut through it. 

Ella loves this dress - mostly because she knows it used to be Daddy's shirt and she thinks that must mean she's as big as Daddy! She's very keen on growing up my little girl. Would that I could be so pleased - while I love watching her grow and learn, I'm still really struggling to come to terms with the fact that my firstborn is 3 already (where did that time go?)

Buy Nothing New Month

I went shopping this morning. I mean proper fun shopping, clothes shopping. I can't tell you how excited I was - I practically skipped out of the door, eager for a few child free hours of me-time. 

The trouble is that I don't actually enjoy shopping - i just don't seem to have fully realised that yet.  By the time I left I was thoroughly grumpy and felt like I had just wasted a whole morning. All I wanted to do was get home and spend the rest of the day playing in the garden with the little ones.

So perhaps it wasn't such a waste of time really; after all it did give me a wake up call to what is actually important in my life and where i get my real pleasure from. Perhaps next time the kids are driving my crazy i'll be able to remember that i'd still rather be home with them than out shopping on my own. Plus i did manage to find a couple of VERY nice pairs of shoes...

October is buy nothing new month here in Australia, so my shopping trip is a timely reminder of how empty and unfulfilled this culture of consumerism leaves me feeling. 

If you've not heard of 'Buy nothing new month' it's a fantastic initiative that encourages people to question whether they really need something and to beg, borrow, swap, rent, buy second hand those things that they do. By reducing the amount that we buy, repairing things that might otherwise be thrown out and reusing / sharing things we could make a huge difference to our world.  

But i think that my favourite thing about 'Buy nothing new month' is the creativity that is born when you have to start thinking outside the box. I love the sense of achievement when i'm able to come up with a good solution to a problem which might otherwise have been solved by simply saying 'lets just buy a new one..' 

What do you think? Will you sign up too?  Check out the link below.